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January Jones in a fat suit? What?
That’s right, Mad Men is back for a fifth season and with some very unexpected elements. January Jones Jones has since had her baby, but during filming of the fifth season, she wore a fat suit to hide her pregnancy — not that I mind seeing January Jones looking a little less perfect than usual. Relationships are an important element of season five thus far.
A lot has happened to our characters in the last couple of years. The two-hour season-five premiere of Mad Men, “A Little Kiss,” touches on how much life has changed for everyone. For one thing, they have all aged, except for Don’s 20-something, French-Canadian wife, Megan.
Megan is throwing Don a surprise 40th birthday party, which he is less than thrilled about. Megan reiterates her immaturity at this party when she sings and dances provocatively to a French song, which results in the entire office of men calling her a “French, sex kitten.” Clearly, Don is not happy about turning 40, and although it is made clear that he has aged, he doesn’t look it.
The one character that has aged immensely is Betty Draper…sorry, Betty Francis or Betty Draper Francis — whatever her name is. Ironically, Betty is not even in the first or second episodes. Episode three,”Tea Leaves,” centers around Betty’s drama and problems. She has gained about 60 pounds, a lot of it in her face. I was less than impressed with the fat suit in episode three. Producers have since deflated her a bit in episode four, but Betty’s weight gain is clearly the shock factor of the season.
Betty and Don still share that spark, but the divorce has certainly taken its toll on the family. Sally has matured and accepted her parents separation. She has adjusted to splitting her weekends between parents, and she has even begun to lose her lisp.
But when Betty visits the doctor to discuss her weight gain in episode three, the doctor finds a lump near her throat,which she assumes is cancer. Betty calls Don in a moment of panic, and everyone begins to adjust to life without Betty before she even finds out if the tumor is benign.
When Don finally accepts that Betty has cancer and is going to die, he calls her home, and Henry tells Don that the tumor is benign. But Henry is clearly peeved by the fact that Betty has shared this news with Don personally. Uh oh! Betty left last season unhappy in her marriage, and that has carried over into season five. Betty throws comments around about Don’s 20-year-old wife, and even Don criticizes his own wife’s age.
Betty’s husband, Henry, is not the only one experiencing jealousy. Megan is very unhappy with her husband’s relationship with his ex wife. She mentions it so many times in episode three, that Don finally tells her that he will always have feelings for Betty, who is the mother of his children. Megan is not just jealous of Betty though.
Don’s explicit appetite for women and cheating is beginning to interfere with his own marriage in episode four, “Mystery Date.” the murder of eight student nurses in Chicago has created an overall paranoia among our Mad Men characters. Megan and Don run into Don’s ex mistress, Andrea, in an elevator. Megan expresses her frustration with running into Don’s parade of “old clients,” but Don reassures her of his fidelity, and leaves work early because he is so sick.
Andrea shows up at Don’s apartment and basically forces him into bed with her. Don strangles and kills her, but not before cheating with her — let’s not underestimate our main character. Confused yet? Don wakes up the next morning to find the whole thing was a dream, and his wife was sleeping next to him the entire time he dreamt he was in bed cheating with and murdering another woman.
Sally Draper is fascinated and frightened by the Chicago murders. Sally’s step Grandmother finally tells her the story of what happened and why, and how the one woman who escaped death hid under the bed. We have this classic scene when Henry and Betty come home from a trip. Sally is asleep under the couch and her grandmother is asleep on the couch, knife in hand.
Joan’s husband is finally back from serving as a surgeon in Vietnam. He meets his son, Kevin, which we know is more than likely Sterling’s son. The passion is still there between Joan and her husband, but when Joan finds out that her husband has volunteered to serve yet another year in Vietnam, she ends the marriage and kicks him out. Now, we are left to wonder, will Sterling and Joan get back together?
We have an extreme state of paranoia thus far in the fifth season of Mad Men that is hard to escape. Viewers can’t help but wonder, what are these characters capable of under the circumstances? With murders happening in Chicago, Vietnam going on, civil rights becoming a big issue, what is next for this group of advertisers and their families? If there is one thing that season five of Mad Men is, it’s dramatic!
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